Mongolia: A Short Trip

As travelers, we reserve the right to lengthen or shorten our trip in a particular country. Mongolia is one those countries. Our culinary trip will be very short there.

In our naivety, we thought Mongolian cuisine would be delightful. After all, we love our HuHot Mongolian Grill and that must mean the country is similar. It could be if you took away all the flavor and sauces available for the noodles and meat.

Due to the location of Mongolia, geography, and harsh winter, the cuisine consists of mainly dairy products, meat, and lots of fat. Very few vegetables due to the terrain. True traditional recipes are based around simplicity: water, meat, fat, and maybe noodles without any condiments.

There are only two recipes that sounded remotely appetizing: Cookies and Milk Tea.

Thus, we will be just spending one night in this rural country and will be fasting because most of it looks so tasteless or icky like innards for reflection.

Wednesday Dinner: Suutei Tsai (milk tea) and Boortsog (fried cookies).

Normally, we sign off with a regional translation of the Good Luck which seems more than apt here. Shockingly though, I found how to say “I wish you the very best of luck” in Mongolian and we really do:

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Russian Marshmallows

Our last voyage into Russia ends with a perilous mission: Make the Stay Puff Marshmallow man and let it attack the the city. Get Ghostbusters on speed dial.

But to save on time…we decided to make it’s offspring, Russian Marshmallows called, “Zifer.” This by far is the coolest thing we have ever done from this project. How many can say they’ve made there own marshmallows??

As we found out, it is a recipe meant for those who are patient. I am not one of those people. I’m the type of person who, when driving to a new place, will turn back just before the turn thinking I must have missed it and continue in circles…for sometime.

When we looking over the ingredients, we noticed it called for “Castor Sugar.” Castor Sugar is called Extra Fine sugar in US. You can take granulated sugar and throw into a food processor to achive extra fine sugar if your grocery store does not have it.

Our store did not have it and we do not have a food processor. Depending on who you ask, our research told us you can supplement confectioner’s sugar if you don’t have any other options. Thankfully.

Here’s how it all went down:

“Add the sugar and first lot of water together into a large pot. Bring the mixture to the boil, stirring to dissolve. Boil until large bubbles appear in the middle.” Wait a very long time, letting it boil, for GIANT bubbles to appear and the mixture to take on a syrup like consistency before using a spoon, take a little of the sugar syrup and drop it into cold water to make a ball. If the ball keeps its shape and doesn’t get stuck to your fingers, whatever that means, then it is ready. Remove the pot from the stove.

Mix a packet of unflavored gelatin into a 1/2 cup of HOT water in a bowl until dissolved. Using an electric beater, beat the gelatine into the sugar syrup. Continue to beat for 5 or so minutes until the mix is smooth, thick and creamy white. Stare at each other shocked it’s actually working.

Add in the 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla, beat, then pour in the egg white in a thin stream as you continue to beat for another 5 or so minutes. The mixture should thicken and resemble a stiff uncooked meringue mixture. This part takes forever and all the while we were doing it, I was urging it wasn’t working and we had failed. In fact, we even added an extra egg white after thinking we had done something wrong. We hadn’t. It just takes time to thicken and hold it’s shape. Just keep mixing away until your arms fall off…

Dust a baking tray with a liberal coating of icing sugar and prepare a piping bag….Ziploc bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can always spoon out the mixture onto trays instead. Nice try, that did not help, turned into giant blob. Will continue to use Ziploc.

When the mix is thick enough to pipe out and retain its shape, spoon it into the piping bag. Pipe out any size or shape that takes your fancy. Made flowers and funnel cakes.

Dust marshmallows with icing sugar, set aside in the fridge or a cool place to set and harden. They should have an almost crunchy outside, like meringue, and a soft marshmallow inside. When set, remove from the tray and store in air tight containers in the fridge. Tried to “dust” on powdered sugar with no such luck.

It just bounced right off it. Thinking we were done, we placed it in the fridge overnight. Except in the morning, we discovered it was only marshmallowy and not at all crunchy as well as very sticky. That’s when we removed each marshmallow and rolled it in powdered sugar. Finally, it’s done. It’s crunchy and air-drying a little more as we speak.

It tastes sooooo good. Like Peeps actually. If we had extra fine sugar, we could have rolled it in that and placed two chocolate covered eyes on it and it’d be identical! Add in a little food coloring next time to the mix and we could even make Pink Peeps.

And, say we dipped in graham cracker crust and then in chocolate, we’d also have the perfect moon pie. The options are truly and heavenly endless.

I can check that item off of my bucket list now.

Learn how the heck to make marshmallows.

You can find the recipe here: Russian Marshmallows Zifer

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Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Stuffing

When we were looking for Russian recipes, I came across a website that had Russian food recipes targeted at Kiwi’s. So just to make sure we have this right, we’re hapless American cooks reading a Russian recipe that’s been translated so New Zealander’s can cook it.

That proves one thing. Food brings people together. In a day in age when fear is fed daily to us and the world seems to be falling apart at it’s ozone seam, it’s reassuring.

Thursday night’s recipe was Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Stuffing. Since the recipe looked easy, we added a dessert to the mix and also tackled another Russian recipe: making our very own marshmallows!

Roast Loin of Pork is not the same thing as a Pork Loin. They are in fact two different cuts off of a pig. At least that’s what my husband informed me of when I at first told him we needed to buy ham.

We’re not buying ham, dear it’s Roast Loin of Pork.

Ok. A Pork Loin!

No…that’s not it either.

Damn. Why?!

We headed off to the store for Roast Loin of Pork. Except it didn’t matter. The store only had Pork Loin. In fact the pork section was down right pathetic. All they had were pork chops and pork loin. My husband grabbed up the pork loin with extra force and threw it into our cart. He loves meat. So much so that when we started dating, I was actually a vegetarian. That lasted for all of three dates before I gave in to my carnivorous desires. We’ve been happily married and eating every animal you could think of since then.

Due to the fact that we purchased a different slab of meat, we had to halve the stuffing ingredients. Aside from downright ignoring the idea of sewing up our meat with string (since we have none and could not find where or what type of string you’d purchase for it), this recipe was a easy. We melted butter in a pan and sautéed a red onion. Added in breadcrumbs, orange rind (I’d go easy on this it has a bigger effect then you’d think for just flakes), 1/2 Granny Smith apple diced, 1/4 cup of craisins (raisins are so 90’s…), and sprinkled cloves, salt, and pepper.

Thankfully, we had saved a packet of Apple Cider we purchased in a seasonal mood and never ended up drinking. We dissolved it in some water, added it to a glass pan and then added sour cream to the pan and mixed it. It immediately turned into a brown, chunky white bath that we hesitantly slipped the pork loin into.

Done right? Nope. Before I knew it, my husband whipped out our new Meat Thermometer and impaled the loin on it while it cooked. I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable although there was no reason for it. It’s not that I don’t want to know the temperature of our meat. I just like to cook it far passed the eye ball point of guessing. That’s how I’ve been trained. Kill, Kill, KILL the beast!!

We turned our oven to 425˚ for just 30 minutes. Basted it in the goopy sour cream cider bath and turned the oven down to 350˚ as the recipe specified. Thirty minutes later the Meat Thermometer informed us it had reached 180˚. Since pork only needs to reach 160˚ we were 20˚ over the kill point.

It smelled heavenly. It looked perfectly cooked. And according to my husbands smile on his face as he ate, I knew it tasted good too. But I eyed it suspiciously. The meat was so moist. How can it be cooked? How?? Cooked meat tastes dry.

When I said that last part out loud, his jaw dropped and he went in a long lecture about what he claims is a history of overcooking meat and stated he would help re-educate me that you do not have to dry meat to cook it properly. In fact, that’s just a “anti-meat sentiment and fear campaign.”

Stupid Meat Thermometer.

It did taste amazing once I got over the softness of the meat which I still find odd. The cider sour cream bath made it shockingly sweet. With that in mind next time, we will leave out the pepper to the stuffing mix. The spice of pepper did not go well with the sweet loin and apple stuffing taste.

You can find the recipe here: Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Stuffing.

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Khachapuri Cheese Bread Boats + Russian Friendship Tea

Something came up. It’s not you, its me. Where was I this week you ask? Ok. I’m making my own blog out to be a crazy ex. I’ll tell you where I was and why to prove my faith to you. As a freelance writer who’s trying to make it out there, I had the jump up and down for hours out of excitement opportunity to interview a fashion designer for a magazine. But the catch was it had to all be done, the lengthy article, 20 questions, answers back from the designer, and put together within 1 week. It was like Survivor for Writers. 15 lattes, 1 designer, 1 caffeinated crazed writer, 20 questions, and 1 week. I know you must feel really bad for me. It was a kick ass assignment and I loved every minute of it.

We did cook our dishes but I just didn’t have the extra brain power to tell you about it. I’m willing to make-up by mailing cheese bread boat forgive-me-favors to all that ask, unless of course it slips my mind! (It’s already forgotten).

On Tuesday night, our dinner was to be “Hachapuri.” That name gives no hints. It looks like what I would imagine, “Good Evening,” in Russian to be. In fact, according to the very knowledgeable Wikipedia it’s actually spelled, “Khachapuri,” and answers.com pronounces it as, “Khah-chah-POOR-ee.”

Not that that helps. Khahchahpoooree is a what an American would classify as cheesy bread. It’s bread, which can be in the shape of a boat, filled with cheese, and sometimes topped with an egg. When we were searching for Russian dishes, this cheesy bread kept popping up. But I kept dismissing it. We were looking for Russian dishes and this one clearly states that it’s Georgian.

Silly little me thought, Georgia the southern American state. Not Georgia, the state once apart of the Soviet Union.  As a result while this dish is not strictly Russian, it is a dish that was mingled into the cuisine. I’m sure Georgia and Russia were great friends. Despite the fact that when I searched “Georgia Russia” the first results that came up were the “Russian Georgian war.” Which I promptly disregarded. In fact, we have some good friendship tea that is sure to settle any worldly or neighborly conflict.

On Tuesday after being swamped with work, it was my hubby who came home with a huge smile on his face wondering what we were making tonight. I of course continued to pout until my bad mood melted away, smiled and absorbed his cuteness. My mood lightened right away when I realized we only needed 1 ingredient to make this dish (aside from the dry bread ingredients in our pantry). The cheese. How cool is that? I’m sure we’ll be able to run into our grocery store and find….Adygei…cheese…with…no…problem.

Huh. We went to our basic grocery store and looked everywhere for it. No luck. Zilch. However, we’re both fairly stubborn so we left and went to another store. Nothing there either. By that time, we had a slight slump to our posture and a crazed hunger gleam in our eyes. The only thing left to do was either A) Drive to the only Whole Foods store in Ohio and pray they had it. It’s 30 minutes away on a good day. B) Buy something generic and plan to eat sooner than later.

For the sake of our stomachs and marriage, we went with plan B. We picked out a couple of bags of mixed italian cheese bags and one smoked shredded asiago cheese blend instead. Then, we proceeded to get ingredients for our exotic tea: Tang, Lipton’s Rasberry Iced Tea, and Crystal Light Lemonade.

The cheese boat recipe has lots of pretty pictures which we appreciate. We did not appreciate the measurements in grams and ounces though. All we own are 3 small measuring cups, plus 2 college degrees, which means we were stumped on how to convert 300 grams of flour or 0.7 lbs into cups.

As always, we ran to the computer for help. Decided we wanted to have precise measurements since we love following directions (we’re just proper that way) and felt the Internet would aide us in that endeavor. After combining all the ingredients, we kneaded the dough for 15 minutes. The cool factor was gone in 3 minutes. Naturally, we took turns passing it off on one another.

I couldn’t help but grumble when I realized we had to let the dough sit for a whole hour to rise. We slipped it on a floured plate (fool us once, shame on you…fool us twice and we never make this again) slipped it under a bowl, and placed it in the draft free off oven.

We looked at each other in pain. This is how we made up our next decision:

We were both so hungry. We have to wait an hour? It’s just bread. An HOUR? And cheese. Cheesy bread is a side. An…hour?! I need to eat now. A whole hour. Your arm looks tasty. Let’s go get take-out. We’ll be back and fed by that time.

So we did. We bought bbq chicken tenders. They were devoured. One hour later, we were content and had even slipped in an episode of The Office when our timer went off and we checked in on our bread.

How do I say this? It had risen. At least that’s what he thought. It had. I guess. I think so. It was bigger. I just expected it to be huge with the yeast in it.

According to the recipe, we halve it and roll out one piece flat…in order to make to 2 HUGE bread yachts. We decided to fourth the dough and make 4 skiffs Hucklberry Finn would be proud to wander down the Mississippi river on.

This part was easy. We rolled out the dough like nothing. Let me tell you why. The advent of a nonstick rolling pin is an amazing thing. It almost replaces all those tragic childhood memories of attempting to roll out dough only to have a wooden rolling pin trash it to pieces.

I couldn’t believe how easy it was. The tumultuous relationship I had with dough is healing. It’s freeing. Like learning how to dive into a pool. I can make any recipe with bread in it now. I’ve got a non-stick rolling pin and…adult muscles.

Next, we laid out the bread, dumped the cheese tentatively into the middle, pinched and rolled both ends and laid it on to a greased cooking sheet. Then, we quickly whisked egg and water together and lovingly smothered the dough like we were giving it a sponge bath.

There, there bread. We won’t let the big bad oven hurt you. Mommy and Daddy are here to help you.

After tucking our bread into a 365˚ oven, we waited 20 minutes. Unfortunately, our tiny bread skiff’s were not big enough to drop an entire raw egg into them. When the time was up, we couldn’t believe our eyes. They looked beautiful and tasted delicious. Our own cheesy bread. Who would have ever thought?

There were a couple of problems. 1) We did not include cheese in the tips and should have when we were rolling up the sides. Without cheese, it’s just tasteless bread. 2) This bread is tastless. It’d actually be a perfect pretzel bread as it is dense and tastless. If the bread was perhaps glazed in olive oil and dusted with parmesan, it’d be better.

Next we whipped up the tea. According to the caution of many commentators, it was too sugary. We left the sugar out so we could add it at freely to our own drinks. The tea was amazing. Who on earth would have thought Tang, Raspberry Iced Tea, and Lemonade mix, would be great served together and hot? In addition the Allspice, Cinnamon, and Cloves added a lovely aroma. Perfect for a cold night.

We’ve been drinking it nonstop.

Find Both Recipes here: Khachapuri and Russian Friendship Tea.

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Russian Pelmeni + Borscht: The Red Dilemma

Now, you know. I hold grudges….which is why I couldn’t leave our Borscht attempt in that pitiful orange state. I made a vow. And I make good on those. Bringing my husband in tow, we decided to Iron Chef Russia ourselves and take on 3 recipes in one night: Russian Pelmeni, Borscht again, and Lemon Drop Martini to see it through.

Pelmeni is a like an American Chicken Dumpling except it’s filled with ground pork, ground beef, and onions. Here’s the kicker: We have to make the dough. Our own pasta. From scratch. Up until this point, I didn’t think that anyone ever did that. Who makes their own pasta, afterall? It comes in a nice box. I hate that it takes 15 minutes to boil noodles. I’d never ever would have guess we’d attempt this. And by all means, I would have skipped it. But Pelmeni is supposed to be a key Russian dish and to leave Russia without ever attempting it would have been cheating.

Which is why it was my first priority to find a recipe with as many pictures as possible. Who else but a fellow blogger would do that?! I was content…until it came time to gather intell Thursday night on ingredients and actually read the directions. That’s when I began frowning. While it has many pretty pictures,  this gal uses a bread maker for the dough. The dough is the hardest part. The mix of beef, pork, and onion is ridiculously easy. It’s practically not even a step. Thankfully, I scanned the comments and found a Ukrainian family food blog that had 3 pics and detailed dough instructions.

After combining egg, sour cream, water, milk, and a frick ton of flour (5-6 cups), we began beating the dough. Severely. What can I say? It wasn’t Friday yet. So, after only 8 minutes of brutal kneading, we hid our bruised dough under a bowl and let think about what it had done to deserve its punishment for a whole hour.

Now that we both had our blood pumping, it donned on me us that we still had all the ingredients for Borscht. After I pleaded We decided to go ahead and try again with the soup. This time, we didn’t take any chances. We must not fail.

Already knowing the weirdo instructions, we didn’t question them or take them too seriously. We decided to place the peeled tomatoes with the stock pot and the diced with the skillet. Mystery solved. We did boil 1 beet whole (which we promptly ate) and 1 diced. As we watched our stock pot, we saw an immediate difference. This time it was red, red. We did have a tense moment when we added the mashed potatoes to the pot where it turned pink. But I quickly grabbed the tomato cabbage mixture and threw at the pot, where the power of acid turned it back to red. And we nailed it baby. Soup’s done. We are victorious. WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!

Feeling celebratory, we decided it was time to try our first ever lemon drop martinis. Martinis because that’s how Russians keep warm during those long, bitter cold winter months…with a hearty supply of vodka. While winter may be over, Ohio is still very cold. That 65 degree temperature yesterday was down right brutal.

No, I’m not like Sandra Lee from Semi-Homemade cooking. I promise. You won’t see me come up with a hard liquor cocktail for every meal. I promise.

I should mention that while at the store, we…um..failed to find the “sweet and sour mix.” And for some reason, thought sweet and sour sauce would suffice. We also had no luck in the vodka section. I mean, we bougtht vodka. But the brands were horrible. I’m a Smirnoff girl myself. A good sized liquor store would have had more than 3 brands of vodka to choose from. The trouble is we live in Ohio where liquor is sold everywhere. Everyone and their grandma out here has a license to sell it. This means that any local store (including non superstore Target) have 2 isles of wine and even gas stations.

This is a 180 from back in Colorado, where only liquor stores carry the bulk of liquor items (aside from beer) and treat you like a convict on a felonious spree when you want to buy some. “Ma’am, Sir, I need to see both of your ID’s before you enter the store. You need to put that purse in one of the following cages. Let me run your fingerprints. Keep your hands where I can see them.”

You may be laughing but the first two are actually truthful. You can laugh harder now.

For our martinis, we carved off a lemon peel and moistened the edges in a pile of sugar we poured onto the counter. Lacking a shaker, we snatched up my Starbucks mug (GREAT idea, one of many) and piled in vodka, sweet and sour sauce, and lime juice.

It…was….disgusting.

We tried not adding as much lime, adding more sauce, more nasty tasting vodka, and started pouring our sugar from the counter into the drink…all to no avail. It was bad. Very, very, bad.

Thankfully, the hour was up and it was time to actually make the main dish (so we will never mention the previous incident above again in case you were wondering). We were out of steam by this point and really running low on sanity. But the idea of making our own pasta perked us up a little. The pictures looked so easy too.

Step 1) Tear off dough and form into snake.

Step 1) Realize we should have added flour to the wax paper since dough is now stuck on it. Peel off wax paper off of the bruised butt of the dough. Or Rip off and throw away chuck that seems to have solidified and then, tear off dough and form into snake. P.S. How the heck do you form into snake?

Step 2) Cut into perfectly uniform chucks.

Step 2) Dough is sticky. Slather in flour. Have the intention of uniformity. Reality = every piece was unique. Pasta comes in all sizes, right?

Step 3) Beat with a spoon and roll out perfect circles of finely pressed dough.

Step 3) Take that dough. Perfect my ass. I’ve never seen such a disjointed group.

Step 4) Add a dollop of meat mix and squeeze into shape.

Step 4) Add meat. Make fun of each other’s pudgy and thin pelmeni pieces.

Step 5) Boil water, add some pelmeni, wait for them to float. Cook 3-4 minutes and you’re all set.

Stare at each other shocked that it actually worked.

We added butter to the steaming Pelmeni and dill spice to the top. We ate them by mixing sour cream and sweet and sour sauce together. They’re were very good. However, we made them way to big. They were also chewy, sticky, and a tad gummy to eat. But we can’t tell if that’s how home made pasta is supposed to be or if it was our fault. But we didn’t care. We made our own pasta and it was edible.

The Borscht was very good. Since it’s full of vegetables, it’s a perfect side to Pelmeni.

Not to rain on our glorious parade but the Borscht did turn from red to pink while it sat in our refrigerator overnight. A hot, malibu Barbie pink we both felt a tad disturbed to look at. That’s when we turned the lights down low for dinner and secretly agreed we liked the carrot top color soup better as a leftover.

Unless in the future, we throw an all girl slumber party where Barbie is the theme, I don’t see it making another show in our house.

You can find the recipes here: Borscht, Russian Pelmeni, Pelmeni Dough, and the Lemon Drop Martini if you’re brave enough.

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Borscht: The Orange Scare

Sorry for keeping you waiting on this post, part of it was the shame of posting this picture….as you can see our Borscht didn’t quite turn out the way it was supposed to. (cough) Not that it was our fault in the least. I totally plan to blame the recipe. In fact, I was going to link to the recipe but the dark, beet red soup picture has ominously been taken down. Perhaps there were too many orange Borscht than dark red soups coming out? I think my case holds water. And for someone who’s studied the LSAT, I could say I have an “honorary” law degree, right? Right.

Now, that I have my Linus blanket latte, I can recall the tragic events that led our Borscht’s downfall…

This time, we decided to tackle the store together as a team. That means obviously, we couldn’t get the other one to go. Which is what couples do! And the only two ingredients we had at home were water and salt.

The store is still very confused and out of order, but having each other there to gawk at it and laugh made a world of difference. We tag teamed the ingredients and we were out of the store in a record time. We even found peeled and diced canned tomatoes to our surprise.

This time we had a plan. 1) Go to the store. 2) See Battle:Los Angeles and eat the chocolate chip muffins we just bought. 3) Go home and make the best Borscht ever. (we should really stop making goals).

The Chocolate Chip Muffins plan worked to tie us over while we saw a movie in a actual theatre. Now that ticket prices are skyrocketing, we tend to save our money for films we think really should be seen on a big screen. Why else should we hand over our savings bonds?

Sadly, we thought this movie was it. While the acting, script, and action shots were all fantastic. One thing was beyond frustrating. Whoever was responsible for the ridiculous camera gnome angles should give us our money back. Since when is being able to see the nose hairs of an actor because you want a close shot, ever good? Or maybe this person was busy doing something else, since the camera seemed to be simply strapped to someone’s shoulder. It was dizzying to watch. And I loved the through the stair railing shots or through some random window…it was like they paid that British guy who got sued over producing such as bad wedding video to film this movie. Thankfully, half way through the movie, it got better and it was enjoyable. Not sure if seeing that one on the big screen was a good idea though…

We left the theatre disucssing what we liked, grumbling about what we didn’t along with our empty stomachs. It was time to do this. 1 Russian Borscht Red Soup coming up.

We did see a few warning signs at the store when we were picking out the ingredients. This recipe calls for 3 potatoes quartered and 3/4 diced potatoes. 1/2 cup of canned peeled, diced tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of canned diced tomatoes.

As we began to read the directions, it became very clear that they were unclear.

  1. Place water, salt, carrots, 1/2 of the bell pepper, celery, beet, tomatoes (which?? peeled or diced), and quartered potatoes in a large stock pot over high heat. Bring to a boil.
  2. Melt 1/3 cup butter in a separate skillet over medium heat. Saute onions in butter until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes (which?? peeled or diced), reduce heat to medium low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of sauce from skillet, and set aside (Why?). Stir half of the cabbage into the skillet with remaining sauce, and continue simmering 5 minutes more, or until tender.
  3. Remove beet from boiling liquid and discard. (You discard the beet?!) Remove potatoes with a slotted spoon or tongs (Ok…sure), and place in a bowl with remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the cream. Mash together until smooth. (Yummy).
  4. Return the 1/2 cup of reserved onion-tomato sauce to the stock pot (Ok…). Stir in diced potatoes, and simmer until just tender but still firm, approximately 5 minutes. Increase heat to a low boil, and stir in remaining cabbage, tomato sauce (?? We give up on which one), and mashed potatoes (Nooo! That’s the best part so far…). Reduce heat and simmer a few minutes more. Stir in remaining bell pepper, season with black pepper, and serve. (Dill? The spice I paid $4, where is that?)

We snapped at each other like turtles. Here’s how it went.

“Which tomatoes?”

“I don’t know.”

“Didn’t you just read it?”

Of course, I read it. We’ve both read it. It doesn’t make any difference…

Whoever wrote this recipe knew it well. Too well. They failed to discriminate between the ingredients they forced us to discriminate in the first place. It also seemed to unnecessarily segregate ingredients.

Move the potatoes to the left side of the counter. Then, remove 3/8ths, dice, and rotate so it is now facing north. Now add to potskillet.

And you discard the beet?! You just use it to bleed it dry? I would have never, ever thought the red water I used to boil beets in was good for anything. There are now 2 ways to use this Martian Vegetable. Check.

The best part of making this recipe was the side-stepped mashed potatoes with butter and cream. It was so good, we kept taking bites out of it and were really sorry to add it back to the beet pot.

The second we did, it went from a redish pink color to a shameful orange color. Both of our jaws dropped in shock.

Now we know the shame Harry Potter must have felt when he failed at potions.

After we combined all the segregated dishes, we began to clean up when we noticed the Dill spice was still sitting on the counter untouched. We sat head to head, peering down the directions. No Dill was ever mentined. We added it to the top. Maybe with a bit more force than necessary…

Finally, it was done and ready to eat. We filled our bowls and begrudgingly took a bite.

To add yet another surprise twist, it was incredibly good. Topped off with a little salt and we went back for another helping right away. We were shocked. Our little carrot top soup was scrumptious. The mashed potatoes melted away and made it creamy. The diced potatoes added a touch of texture. The peeled tomatoes held their flavor unlike their diced cousins who fell apart. If not for the lack of direction from the…er….directions, it’d be damn near perfect.

We immediatly went back online to the recipe, looking in the comment section to see if other people had had as much trouble as we have. To be perfectly honest, I was almost looking for a wtf comment. And we found plenty!

“I’ll rate it after I’ve eaten it. BUT..this is the most disjointed recipe I’ve ever seen and I’ve used lots of recipes and done plenty of quite complicated cooking. Next time please make it easier to follow. This is not meant as a criticism because it looks as if it is going to be delicious, but don’t want to put others off as I am.” I know, right?!

“Quite good, though the directions are frustratingly unclear, at times.” Hello, my new friend.

“I found this recipe confusing and at times odd (why wouldn’t you keep beets in Borscht soup?)” Good, it’s not just us.

We’re still puzzled as to why it turned orange instead of a unhealthy red color. Was our beet too small? It did call for a medium. Maybe we should have just added two? Or diced and pureed it like the commentators suggest? Did we add too many potatoes?

We may never know. Next time? I’m adding three beets. 1 whole, 1 diced, 1 pureed.

I will get you soup. I promise. This I vow.

You can find the recipe here: Borscht I

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Russian Recipes Up Next!

Russia: A land full of mystery, intrigue, and winter. At least that’s what I think of when it comes to mind. However, we can’t help but be extremely excited to learn something completely foreign. Who would have thought beets would go well in soup?

It does…we hope.

Searching for russian recipes was at a bit challenging. We found a lot of half filled information but after searching through it all, we found a few items that seemed to be key dishes: Borscht, Pelmeni (sort of like a dumpling), lots of vodka, tea (one of the most common drinks available outside of vodka obviously) and lots of meat. We were very shocked and surprised to learn this…

Here’s what were cooking for the next 2 weeks:

Borscht – March 22

Russian Pelmeni and Lemon Drop Martini – March 24

Hachapuri and Russian Friendship Tea – March 28

Roast Loin of Pork with Apple Stuffing and Russian Marshmallows Zifer – March 31

Instead of saying, “Bon appetite” we’re going to sign off with the phrase Good Luck in Russian:

Удача!

I was going to say, “Don’t even ask us how on earth you’d say that….!”

But then two seconds later, I satisfied my own curiosty and this is what I found:

Удача = pronounce “ooh-dáh-chee”

There you go!

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